If You’re Going to San Fransisco…
I had an incredible time in San Fransisco! True to my nature, I did a lot of super touristey things, and unfortunately that doesn’t make for the most exotic blog post. While you may find a lot of my posts on Taiwan or Japan interesting because you haven’t been, San Fransisco isn’t out of reach for too many people! The reason I have not written much about it is that I don’t want to walk people step by step through Alcatraz, you should do it on your own and be surprised on your own! You may have seen the sea lions already, or at least heard of them! In any event, I decided to sum up my feelings on San Fransisco on one post, although if you have not already checked it out, you should see some pictures of the Haight in my post from last week!
All in all, I LOVED San Fransisco. There is something about the West Coast that just has some California Sunshine magic to me. New Jersey reaps few of the benefits of being a coastal state, despite what it may look like on Jersey Shore. It’s really cold for 90% of the year, and the further North you go, the more likely you are to be wading in garbage at the beach. A few beach areas are fun in NJ, but it’s nothing in comparison to California.
I am a total Los Angeles girl. I like the city, and the beach all within a short grasp. I also love Old Hollywood and celebrities, so L.A. was more the place for me. San Fransisco though, is like the cool, quirky, smart and mature older sister of Los Angeles. It is more earthy, slightly mature, with a more prominent and ground-breaking history that involves more politics than celebrities. I really liked the vibe of San Fransisco, especially the residential area.
For Alcatraz, make sure you book months in advance. The tours fill up extremely quickly, and there is little to no chance you will get a same day ticket, let alone a ticket during your stay, just book online!
Walking the wharf was another favorite portion of the trip, it’s a beautiful, busy sea-side area! Grab some seafood for lunch, have some terrible carnival vendor food (Churros were our choice) and take a million pictures of the sea lions tossing each other overboard! Adorable!!
You have to see Lombard Street, the most crooked street in America. Although I will say, I don’t see the fascination with China-towns. If you’re looking for some great chinese food, sure, but as a tourist destination, I just don’t see the point having been to Asia! If you haven’t, just picture a street or two with some Chinese food restaurants and markets. Bam- China town. I just don’t get it.
Of course, you have to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge! It takes about an hour to get back and forth, and it’s a really nice brisk walk, but beware of bikers! The path ain’t big enough for everybody! Gate Park is also absolutely delightful. It’s the Central park of San Fransisco, and it’s seriously lovely. The park is home to tons of dog-walkers, joggers, street vendors, and even a free swing dance class next to the University. Just like New York City’s parks, there is magic at every turn.
Speaking of New York, being in such close proximity sort of takes a lot of the magic out of city-centers. Like what’s the big fuss over San Fransisco’s Union Square? There are stores? I don’t get it! Give me Union Square’s markets and street entertainers any day.
A few things that surprised me about San Fransisco were that while I had heard that there was a very large homeless population, I did not realize they would be so aggressive. In New York, the homeless are more reserved, and sit on the street in silence, whereas in San Fransisco they aren’t afraid to make themselves known, get in your face, and ask for money. That was new.
On a similar note, San Fransisco is not a place I want to be alone on the street in the middle of the night. I have never felt that way in New York, save for one time I ended up in Harlem at 2 A.M. In San Fransisco, I found that you could be in a really busy, fierce upscale shopping area, and still be one block from the hood. I find this to be very confusing!